rhubarb bakewell tart and cream

Florence Knight

Rhubarb is ear-ticklingly tart and delightfully sherbety, which ensures it can hold its own alongside rich ingredients such as golden shortcrust pastry and almond frangipane. To get the best from rhubarb, choose stalks that are firm and crisp with unblemished leaves.

makes 8 slices,

for the tart
225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tbsp caster sugar
125g butter, cold and cubed
3 egg yolks — 2 for the pastry and 1 for the glaze

for the frangipane
190g butter, at room temperature, cubed
190g golden caster sugar
3 whole eggs, at room temperature
190g ground almonds
45g plain flour
Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
350g rhubarb, trimmed
2 tbsp sugar
20g flaked almonds

to serve
2 tbsp icing sugar, optional
Double cream, optional

01 To make the pastry, tip the flour, caster sugar and ¼ tsp salt into a food processor and briefly pulse. Add the cubes of cold butter and pulse again until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. If making by hand, rub the butter into the floury mix with the tips of your fingers. Pour in the two egg yolks along with some cold water and pulse again, or blend using a metal spoon.

02 Transfer the crumbly mixture to a clean surface and use your hands to bring it together, working quickly and lightly so as not to overwork it. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it tightly in clingfilm, flatten it slightly, then leave to chill in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably two.

03 Meanwhile, make the frangipane. Place the cubed butter in the food processor, add the golden caster sugar and blitz until smooth, pale and fluffy. Break in the eggs one at a time, pulsing between each addition to prevent the mixture from separating.

04 Pour in the ground almonds, plain flour, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and blitz for a few moments to combine without knocking the air out of the mixture. Use a spatula to transfer the mixture into a piping bag and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.

05 Lightly dust the worktop with a little extra flour and roll the pastry evenly into a circle, turning it clockwise as you go. Once the thickness is somewhere between a 50p piece and a £1 coin, drape the pastry over the rolling pin and gently unfold it over a fluted tart case measuring 25cm wide by 3.5cm deep.

06 Press the pastry into the corners of the tin with your fingers and lightly stick a fork into the base a few times. Leave it draped over the edges of the case — the excess can be cut away once cooked. Wrap any leftover bits of pastry in clingfilm — you may need them to plug any holes or cracks that appear after blind baking. Chill the tart case and the leftovers in the fridge for 30 minutes.

07 Heat the oven to 160C (180C non-fan). Line the chilled tart case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Leaving the oven on, remove the tart and set aside for 10 minutes with the paper and beans in place. Trim the edges and remove the paper and beans.

08 Beat the remaining egg yolk in a small bowl. Brush the pastry carefully before returning the tart uncovered to the oven for 8-10 minutes. Cook until crisp and golden, then remove.

09 Cut the rhubarb into sticks and arrange them in a snug, single layer over the base of the tart. Sprinkle over the sugar. Pipe a layer of frangipane over the rhubarb. Oil a flat spatula and use it to spread the frangipane evenly, gently pushing it right to the edges of the tart.

10 Return the tart to the oven for 30 minutes, then turn it 180 degrees and scatter over the flaked almonds. Cook for a further 15 minutes until the frangipane has risen, is golden and springs back to the touch.

11 Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or cold, dusted with icing sugar and a good helping of double cream.